Tuesday, November 13, 2012

What Do You Say to a Naked Lady? (1970)

          After years of milking cheap laughs out of his Candid Camera TV series, which used hidden cameras to capture the reactions of real people drawn into fake situations, producer/director Allen Funt decided to move his franchise onto the big screen—and he decided that adding nudity and swearing would justify the transition. Hence What Do You Say to a Naked Lady? Although technically a documentary, since most of the people who appear onscreen are not actors, this is really just a weak attempt at sex farce. Unfortunately, as so often happens when unimaginative filmmakers traffic in ribald humor, shock value quickly wears off, thereby revealing the lack of underlying substance. Plus, even though Funt features perhaps a dozen vignettes of nude women wandering into unexpected places—office-building hallways, rural motorways, university classrooms, and so on—not a single onlooker provides the type of howlingly funny reaction one might expect. Instead, responses range from barely concealed leering to polite awkwardness to timid solicitousness (as when onlookers offer nude women clothing).
          One suspects that Funt realized his concept was a flop, because he pads the movie with lots and lots of supplemental material. In addition to a pair of vignettes involving nude or semi-nude men, just for balance, Funt includes copious amounts of man-on-the-street interviews about sex-related subjects. At its worst, the movie collapses bland footage into chipper montage sequences that are set to awful songs by Steve Karmen, a veteran of the dirty-movie genre. One of Karmen’s songs is a bouncy ditty about rape (!); another asks whether a man will disrobe if other men around him do so (try humming the lyrics, “Will they be testing his virility, ask him to follow obediently?”); and Karmen even provides a cringe-inducing title song with a Burt Bacharach-style “whoa-whoa-whoa” refrain.
          About the only time the movie rises above adolescent snickering is the scene in which Funt interviews a middle-aged woman who claims to have a voracious sex life including aspects of S&M and other alternative practices; in that moment, Funt becomes a lowbrow successor to famed sex researcher Alfred Kinsey. Throughout the rest of the picture, Funt just seems like a creepy voyeur ogling the eye candy on display during the Sexual Revolution. Oh, and don’t be fooled by the fact that the picture originally carried an X-rating—frank talk and full-frontal nudity aside, this is tame stuff. (Available as part of the MGM Limited Collection on Amazon.com)

What Do You Say to a Naked Lady?: LAME

1 comment:

Tommy Ross said...

Wow, I never knew Funky Funt even did a feature...not that I'm going to try and hunt this one down though...you're amazing Peter!